Politics Joe Manchin blasts 'out-of-stater' Bernie Sanders over infrastructure op-ed in West Virginia newspaper

02:26  17 october  2021
02:26  17 october  2021 Source:   businessinsider.com

Inside the Manchin-Sanders feud that has Democrats nervous about Biden's agenda

  Inside the Manchin-Sanders feud that has Democrats nervous about Biden's agenda Rep. Ro Khanna had a suggestion for President Joe Biden on a private conference call earlier this week: Have Sens. Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders sit in the same room and try to cut a deal on the Democratic Party's massive social safety net expansion. © Getty Images Because once they do, the California Democrat suggested, it would almost certainly satisfy the moderate and liberal wings of the Democratic caucus, which have been battling over the size, scope and details of the plan for months.

Joe Manchin wearing a suit and tie: Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Samuel Corum/Getty Images © Provided by Business Insider Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Samuel Corum/Getty Images
  • Manchin blasted Bernie Sanders for writing an op-ed in a W.Va. paper over the reconciliation bill.
  • Sanders detailed the investments that the bill could provide and called out Manchin as a holdout.
  • "I will not vote for a reckless expansion of government programs," Manchin said in a statement.

The dispute between Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia over a multitrillion-dollar reconciliation package reached a boiling point on Friday when Sanders wrote an opinion piece for a high-profile newspaper in Manchin's home state.

Democrats' Feuds Over Biden's Plans Should Have Cooled During Recess. Instead They Heated Up

  Democrats' Feuds Over Biden's Plans Should Have Cooled During Recess. Instead They Heated Up A recess this past week could have been an opportunity for Democrats to reach a deal on their sweeping agenda. But rifts only appeared to have deepened.But this past week, the opposite happened. Simmering feuds exploded in public, and rifts appear to have deepened ahead of Congress returning Monday with just two weeks before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's October 31 deadline to reach agreement on two bills at the heart of Biden's plans.

Sanders, writing for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, laid out the stakes for the legislation, which is consequential for President Joe Biden's legislative agenda and base Democratic voters who for years have clamored for solutions on issues including access to higher education and the rising cost of childcare.

"This reconciliation bill is being opposed by every Republican in Congress as well as the drug companies, the insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry and the billionaire class," Sanders wrote. "They want to maintain the status quo in which the very rich get richer while ordinary Americans continue to struggle to make ends meet."

Manchin did not take kindly to the pressure campaign for him to back a more robust Democratic-led infrastructure bill, which party leaders envisioned in the $3.5 trillion range. Manchin has insisted the bill be pared down to roughly $1.5 trillion.

The fight between Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders over the Biden agenda is getting very, very personal

  The fight between Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders over the Biden agenda is getting very, very personal There's an unwritten rule in the Senate that no senator from your own party should try to mess with you in your state. Which is what makes what Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders did on Friday very interesting -- and potentially explosive. © Provided by CNN Sanders took to the pages of West Virginia's Charleston Gazette-Mail to make the case for an expansive version of President Joe Biden's social safety net legislation, which would rethink the role for the government in everything from immigration to the environment and back. "Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation," wrote Sanders.

"This isn't the first time an out-of-stater has tried to tell West Virginians what is best for them despite having no relationship to our state," the senator said in a statement on Friday. "Congress should proceed with caution on any additional spending and I will not vote for a reckless expansion of government programs. No op-ed from a self-declared Independent socialist is going to change that."

In the op-ed, Sanders explained that the bill is intended to aid working-class Americans that have often been left behind by government.

"The Build Back Better plan is not only vitally important for seniors, but it is enormously important for working families and their children," Sanders wrote. "As a result of the $300 direct payments to working class parents which began in the American Rescue Plan, we have cut childhood poverty in our country by half. It would be unconscionable to see those payments end, which is exactly what will happen if we do not pass this bill.

The Manchin and Bernie show consumes Democrats

  The Manchin and Bernie show consumes Democrats It's a spat that could have major policy implications beyond the personalities involved. It’s also being tracked closely by the White House.They represent fewer than 1 percent of Americans, but there’s no clearer window into Democrats’ inability to advance their domestic priorities than the ongoing rift between the socialist Vermont Independent and the conservative West Virginia Democrat. The duo's verbal scuffle over the pace and scope of Biden's social spending plan is going increasingly public, with Sanders aggressively leaning on Manchin as the centrist tries to trim a measure stocked with progressive priorities.

"I believe that now is the time, finally, for Congress to stand up for working families and have the courage to take on the big money interests and wealthy campaign contributors who have so much power over the economic and political life of our country," he added.

Sanders then called out Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona as the only holdouts for a bill that progressives feel would be transformative for the country.

"Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation," he wrote. "Yet, the political problem we face is that in a 50-50 Senate we need every Democratic senator to vote 'yes.' We now have only 48. Two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin."

Democrats cannot afford any defections in moving their infrastructure bill through the reconciliation process, which would allow the party to skirt the 60-vote threshold normally needed to cut off debate to pass legislation.

Manchin and Sinema are not on board with the current level of spending and have asked for cuts, even as party leaders hope to pass a larger reconciliation bill and move the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill through the House. The Senate already approved the bipartisan bill, but progressives are demanding that both bills be passed at the same time, while more centrist Democrats have called on the party to pass the smaller bill and then work on the larger package.

Sanders, the chairman of the powerful Senate Budget Committee, has been increasingly vocal about his issues with Manchin's posture in recent weeks, saying that "it's not good enough to be vague."

Manchin has laid out his issues with some of the clean electricity provisions and the White House has continued to seek a compromise between the Mountain State senator, Sinema, and the rest of the Democratic caucus.

"I'm convinced we're going to get it done. We're not going to get $3.5 trillion. We'll get less than that, but we're going to get it," Biden said while in Connecticut on Friday.

Read the original article on Business Insider

'Bulls---': How a Manchin-Bernie blowup helped unstick Dems' agenda .
A cathartic breakthrough between the West Virginia centrist and Vermont progressive paved the way for growing momentum towards a deal after months of infighting.As Democratic leadership gathered Monday ahead of a pivotal week of negotiations on the party’s social spending bill, Manchin (D-W.Va.) laid out what he could accept to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s team. Universal pre-K was in, he said, but no tuition-free community college.

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